7 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

By Melissa Batai

December can be a stressful month for families, or it can be a time when you slow down and enjoy more time with your kids. After all, you only get 18 years with them, and even in the teenage years, they may be busy doing activities with friends. Take the time now to establish fun traditions that the kids will think back on fondly and maybe institute with their own kids. Here are some holiday traditions you may want to start this year.

Cookie Decorating Contest

Bake some cookies and have fun decorating them together. You might even take a picture or Zoom with friends or relatives and see if they can guess which family member created which cookie. Get fun, over-the-top decorations so you can create silly cookie designs.

Create a Bucket List

Another idea is to create a December family bucket list. Depending on the size of your family, every family member asks for one or two bucket list items. These can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. For simple ideas, maybe try activities like driving around looking at the holiday lights, watching a particular holiday movie as a family, or decorating a gingerbread house. For more elaborate ideas, maybe have a family ski day, or visit relatives out of town.

Go Sledding

If you live in a colder climate, take the entire family sledding. The adults will have fun reliving their childhood days, while the kids will probably enjoy seeing their parents sledding. All of you will likely have fun together with this activity. Afterward, serve some hot chocolate at home.

Wear Matching Pajamas

Buy matching pajamas for your entire family to wear. However, if you start this tradition when your kids are teens, you may experience some pushback. Instead, start this when your kids are little, and they’ll likely embrace the tradition even as they enter the teen years.

Take Your Own Christmas Pictures

You don’t have to take family pictures in portrait studios. Start a tradition of taking family pictures in December. For a fun holiday variation, you could dress in holiday outfits, or you could take the photos outside in a snowy, scenic landscape if it’s available to you. Older kids might enjoy having a funny faces/expressions photo shoot.

Watch a Christmas Movie

Why not pick a Christmas movie to watch together? For about 10 years when I was young, my mom and I watched It’s a Wonderful Life each Christmas Eve. Eventually, we switched to a different movie since we grew tired of watching the same movie each year.

You could watch the same movie or make it a tradition to watch a Christmas movie. In our home, we watch a movie together every Sunday, but in December, the requirement is that the movie must be a Christmas movie.

Go Hunting for a Christmas Tree

This tradition is lost on many families that have artificial Christmas trees, but if you don’t, try to find a Christmas tree farm. Sure, you can buy Christmas trees in a city lot somewhere, but if you have access to a Christmas tree farm, you’ll have more fun!

I still have fond memories of going to my great uncle’s Christmas tree farm every year and searching for just the right Christmas tree. My uncle would come with us and cut down the tree we picked, always assuring us we made a perfect choice. His Christmas tree farm was a hit in his town.

Final Thoughts

Now is the time to start some meaningful Christmas traditions with your kids. While the kids will likely outgrow some traditions, others will stay with them. They’ll remember the traditions fondly and maybe even share a few with their own kids once they have them.